At long last, next week will see this year’s United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Social Innovation Accelerator come to a close next week with The Pitch, a Shark Tank-style competition.
The Pitch features five finalists competing for over $200,000 in funding for their nonprofits and mission-driven for-profits. The finalists, chosen from an original cohort of 10, include Wayne Sims of Cornerstone Crossroads Academy, Tammy Johnson of Empowering the Masses, Dania Carter of Heart of Courage, Camila Correa Bourdeau of March to the Polls, and Tracey Hardwick of Together We Thrive.
The final round of The Pitch will take place on Wednesday, April 19, at 6pm Central at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas.
Parklife is proud to be supporting two of the finalists: Camila Bourdeau and Tammy Johnson. We have also collaborated during this year’s accelerator cycle with fellow finalistTracey Hardwick, as well as a pair of founders in the larger cohort of fellows: Deidra Mayberry of Reading to New Heights and Luann Daniel of Women Rock.
The Social Innovation Accelerator is now a Dallas institution, bringing together the social impact ecosystem for an opportunity to showcase a group of unique leaders and their innovative organizations. The accelerator connects founders and executives with mentors representing virtually every corner of the Dallas business community, as well as potential investors and donors. During the nine-month program, the cohort receives expert training and mentoring in a host of business disciplines, including human resources, operations, finance, development, and marketing.
Parklife first worked with an accelerator organization in the 2020-2021 cycle, helping Dallas-based Dwell with Dignity earn key funding by advancing all the way to the Pitch finals.
“Ever since we worked to prepare Ashley Sharp for The Pitch a couple of years ago, we’ve been hooked on the Social Innovation Accelerator and how it promotes social entrepreneurship in Dallas,” explained Parklife founder Brian Castle. “Working with these elite nonprofit leaders is fulfilling on so many levels. While we may teach them and refine their ways of communicating their value to the Dallas community, they give us the gift of inspiration. It’s a special thrill when we get to the final stage, helping with speeches and pitch decks for the big night.”
Here’s a little more about our Pitch finalists from March to the Polls and Empowering the Masses.
Camila Correa Bourdeau is the Executive Director of March to the Polls, a Dallas-based, nonpartisan organization focused on increasing young voter participation through education, engagement, and empowerment programs across multiple North Texas school districts.
March To The Polls staff and volunteers help register eligible young citizens and remain in contact with the students and their families during subsequent election cycles.
Tammy Johnson is the founding Executive Director of Empowering the Masses, also based in Dallas. Empowering the Masses has a special mission, taking area neighbors from their food pantry to stable, lucrative careers in the medical profession as community health workers and phlebotomists.
The Empowering the Masses team feeds hundreds of food-insecure families each year and empowers more than 80 graduates of its healthcare training programs to leave public assistance and become thriving members of society.
“We are very fortunate to work with a pair of powerful, inspiring women in Camila and Tammy,” Castle continued. “Their journeys began well before the accelerator and will continue for many years to come. We’re just proud to have played a role in helping them with areas like branding, key messaging, and of course, their pitches. We look forward to doing more great work with Camila and Tammy for years to come.”
For more information on The Pitch, visit